Monday, August 17, 2009

Lowe's Reports from the frontlines (LOW)

AlphaNinja - ...the "frontlines" of the home improvement market, that is. Lowe's(LOW) reported earnings that were shy of Wall Street's expectations, and forward-looking guidance was weak as well. Talking heads and economists can babble about the "bottoming process," or the "end" of the recession, but the real confirmation will be found in company results.

From the release:

"Wavering consumer confidence, unseasonable weather in core markets, and restrained customer spending compared to last year's fiscal stimulus-aided results led to lower than expected sales in the second quarter," commented Robert A. Niblock, Lowe's chairman and CEO. "Cautious consumers remain reluctant to take on discretionary projects until signs of economic improvement are more evident. Despite weak sales, sound execution combined with disciplined inventory management and solid expense control led to reasonable earnings for the quarter, and Lowe's market share gains confirm our competitive position remains strong."

What I found notable:

-The pace of the decline in sales increased -->> Q2 revenue was down 4.6% while the six month period saw a decline of 3.2%.

-Store expansion plans were curtailed slightly, with the company now expecting to open 62-66 stores this year.

-Diligent focus on costs enables the company to maintain the high-end of estimates for operating margin as a % of sales.

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